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Scholar of Bach organ music to perform at Bethel College

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. - George H. Ritchie, one of the world’s leading interpreters of J.S. Bach organ music, will present an organ recital at 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 4 in the Administration Building Chapel at Bethel College, North Newton. Admission is free and open to the public. The recital will include works by J.S. Bach, including 10 settings of chorales from the Orgelbuchlein as well as several large chorale preludes and "Prelude and Fugue in A minor."

Ritchie will also conduct a master class on the music of Bach and his contemporaries at 10 a.m., Saturday, April 5 in the Administration Building Chapel, Bethel College.

"Dr. Ritchie is one of the foremost performers in the country and is widely recognized as a scholar of the music of Bach. It is an honor to be able to host him at Bethel College," says Roseann Penner Kaufman, organ instructor at Bethel College.

A native of California, Ritchie completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Redlands. He also holds a master of music degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City and a doctor of music degree from Indiana University. He has studied in Germany with Bach specialist Helmut Walcha and in Paris with organist Andre Isoir.

Ritchie chairs the organ department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he is professor of organ. He co-authored the book "Organ Technique: Modern and Early" (with George B. Stauffer, Oxford University Press).

The Ritchie recordings include five volumes (nine CDs) of J.S. Bach Organ Works on the Raven label, which he recorded on recently built American organs based on those of Bach’s time. When finished, the recording project is expected to include the complete organ works of Bach.

Other Ritchie recordings on the Titanic label include Organ Works of J.S. Bach, Four New American Organs By Bedient, and New Music for Organ and Percussion (with percussionist Albert Rometo).

Ritchie is a featured artist and lecturer at conventions, workshops and master classes. His presentations focus on Bach performance practices and on early and modern playing techniques.

Both events are sponsored by the Voran Memorial Organ Fund and the Bethel College Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

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